Steal $40,000 from a bank, and you’ll spend a decade or two in prison. Steal $40,000 from an airplane passenger’s luggage and you’ll get six months — if you’re a Transportation Security Administration employee, that is.
On January 10, 44-year-old Coumar Persad and 31-year-old Davon Webb, eight-year veterans of the TSA force at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, were sentenced to six months in jail and five years’ probation after pleading guilty to having stolen $40,000 from a passenger’s suitcase in January 2011. At the time of the men’s arrest, authorities told CBS New York that the suspects had apparently helped themselves to passengers’ possessions before, Persad having allegedly admitted to prior instances.
Indeed, it does appear that they had a system worked out in advance of the 2011 incident. Persad spotted the cash while X-raying the bag, which was destined for Buenos Aires. He told Webb to mark the bag with tape so they could easily find it later — which they did, removing as much cash as they could fit into their pockets. (There was $170,000 in all, belonging to a woman authorities have been unable to contact in Argentina; they believe she may have been a drug courier who was killed because of the missing money.) Investigators said they were able to recover all but $20 of the stolen money from the two men’s homes.
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